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Daily Writing Errors: Find and Correct Them Before Another Does

Updated on June 13, 2015

Worked a little too quickly

Typo! The stonemason seems to have made an error on this gravestone and cut "Saras" instead of "Sarah". He may have managed to cover it to casual inspection at the time but the subsequent 150 years have revealed it for all to see.
Typo! The stonemason seems to have made an error on this gravestone and cut "Saras" instead of "Sarah". He may have managed to cover it to casual inspection at the time but the subsequent 150 years have revealed it for all to see. | Source

At the beginning:

I used to make mistakes the same as most of you. (Oops, I just made one. I still do make errors.) Back then, I simply did not think about how important it was to be perfect. I would look over things too quickly to worry that I had made any mistakes.

These days, I simply try not to let as many writing errors as before get past without correcting them. It is best to have someone professional check your work when you are done. If you can, having a second person check it is also good. If this is not possible, simply having a friend or colleague check it is just as handy. If you are in the same position as I am though, then you can try what I do. Self-proofreading.

How to Proofread

The Edit mode:

  • Capsule by capsule

I write all of my work out. (We are all different in this area, but ever since I began to write I have corrected my writing mistakes, those that I notice, as I do my writing.) Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I write out all of my work and I edit each capsule separately. Then I read the capsule, silently, from beginning to end. Next I read it ‘out loud’ from beginning to end. Finally I read it backwards, 'out loud' again stating each mark exactly as what it is. [Ex: Period, question mark, comma, ampersand, etc.]

I read the sentences backwards, but I read the words forwards, going one word at a time. I break the words down into syllables - which if I am not sure about the syllables, I look the word up in my dictionary at hand to see how the word breaks down. Then I pronounce each word very carefully by sounding out every syllable. I may notice that I misspelled a word or have even left out a space between words. Even that I have inserted, or missed, a punctuation mark. Which I immediately correct.

The Preview mode:

When I am done with one capsule I move on to the next one, and so on, until I am done. Then I click on ‘Preview’ and I start the whole process over again. I often catch errors that I had missed the first time. I click back and forth between ‘Preview’ and ’Edit’ to correct the errors in each capsule. After I have reached the bottom, I return to the top and start reading it again. If it reads clean this time, then I click ‘Publish’.

After publishing:

Now you might think that everything is okay, do not believe it. A day or two after it has been published I read it again on Hub Pages just to check. Sometimes I find mistakes, sometimes I do not; it depends. If I do find something, I read it again a couple of days later. Even if I have not found errors, I still read it again in case I have missed something from before. I am always re-reading and re-writing my work to keep the Hubs up to date - as well as I can - and constantly keeping an eye out for mistakes.

Why I do not rely on ‘Spell Check’:

I previously used spell checkers until I found out that they did not know the difference between words such as ‘to, too and two’ (homophones). I also found out that they did not know the difference between synonyms.

There are complete sentences which may even get past some such as, "Eye rays ewe bye uh chip." Would you want that to get into your article? There were many other times that I used it and the checker red lined a word, but when I looked it up in a regular dictionary the word was listed. I could not figure out at first what I was doing wrong - until I realized that it was not my fault.

There were many reasons why I stopped trusting them and began doing it myself. I carry my own dictionary and if the word is not there I can look it up in an online dictionary. I have many dictionaries, in fact – pocket sized, full sized, pedestal sized, and crossword – I only have the pocket sized next to the computer.

Why I did not go deeper into this area:

I can be reading a fiction or non-fiction book, or even a magazine, which have all been proofread and edited and I spot errors as I read. So I cannot say that my work is perfect since I am the only one checking it. I just try my hardest. In about seventh grade I won a spelling bee with ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’. Spelling, punctuation, etc. – I did well at.

In the area of grammar, that is where I am always trying to improve myself. I did not believe that I would score high enough to get a proofreading/editing job. Now that I am writing I am slowly getting better at my grammar.

Proofreader's marks - em dash

Indicates that a one em dash should be inserted (See capsule 'You may want a career')
Indicates that a one em dash should be inserted (See capsule 'You may want a career') | Source

Proofreaders marks - en dash

Indicates that a one en dash should be inserted (See capsule 'You may want a career')
Indicates that a one en dash should be inserted (See capsule 'You may want a career') | Source

Chicago manual of style

 CMOS 16 cover image.
CMOS 16 cover image. | Source

You may want a career

If you want to make this a career there are several factors to take into account. Are you familiar with the marks that proofreaders make? Since I do it on the computer I do not use the marks. The marks are for handwritten, or paper typed, work. On the right are a couple of simple examples. A few easy abbreviations and symbols used are shown in the table.

There are also different 'Manuals of Style' to consider. Some places use only one manual. While others may use two or three manuals. [Ex: AP, Chicago, Elements of Style, etc.]

Salary ranges can vary but they are high. I have a second table below which shows a few averages comparing proofreaders and editors. Those are just averages that I have come across, I have not looked for the jobs on my own. The information may be different now.

Average manual prices

Types of Manuals
Prices from-to (online/offline)
About $4.50 - $70.00
Associated Press
About $2.00 - $15.00
About $2.00 - $36.00
NYT Manual
About $13.00 - $25.00
Top 10 online guides
Unless you are able to get them somewhere at a discount, the lowest priced manual seems to be the hardcover "Elements of Style".

What are manuals used for?

When you get a job there are places which go by the book, literally. When you are writing on your own then you may research and choose which manual to purchase and use.

Here are some ideas of what a few well-known manuals are used for:

  • Chicago Manual of Style - it seems to be updated frequently and provides online supplements; it also seems available for many professions or fields; just make sure that it meets your needs
  • A Manual for Writers of Research Papers - this also seems to meet the same standards as the CMoS
  • The APA Guide - used by students and researchers in social & behavioral sciences
  • AP Stylebook - known also as 'journalist's bible'
  • MLA Handbook/Style Manual - used in fields as literature, languages and humanities

There are many more out there, even other countries. You only have to do research to find the proper one in your field that suits you. Unless you are applying somewhere that already uses a certain type and the rule is that you must use their manual/guide, no other.

Salary average

$25,000 - $40,000 +
$32,000 - $134,000 +

Proofreading or editing

Which do you prefer?

See results

Proofreader's marks and symbols

Spell out
Used to indicate that an abbreviation should be spelled out, such as in its first use
Let it stand
Indicates that proofreading marks should be ignored and the copy unchanged
eq #
Equalize spacing
Put it in italics
Put text in capital case
Insert space
Center text
Move text right
Move text left

Author: Kevin - ©2013

The author of this article claims it to be under copyright protection and warns against trying to copy it.

© 2013 The Examiner-1


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    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Hello John, I write my Hubs in Word which picks up spelling errors, grammar errors, etc. I proofread it, transfer it to HubPages, add photos and such and proofread it again from beginning to end before I publish it. I still make errors, so I accept help.

      Thank you for your votes and comments. You have a great day too.:-)


    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Kevin, good helpful hub here. I write all my hubs in a notebook first and then directly to Hub Pages. Occasionally I will write a portion of it in 'Word" first. I do use the spell checker but just to pick up suspect words I may have missed and I always double check because it is far from perfect. I do read my hubs twice before I publish, but still often find an error or two afterwards, especially as my keyboard often sticks and skips letters. I always encourage my readers to point out errors that they find in my hubs, so I can correct them early rather than have everyone who reads notice the mistake. Voted up. Have a great day.

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Thank you very much DzyMsLizzy. I do not trust it completely but the checker which I trust the most is in MS Word. The only thing about it which annoys me is adding unknown words/names to the dictionary, so I stopped. I just leave them with a red line. That is all that has one. I use everything in the checker.

      I do not use contractions and I avoid many worries that way.

      I want thank you for your comments and votes. (By the way, that was a long entry tonight.)

      Have a nice night. :-)


    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Very nicely done. I've been self-proofreading for years; I learned in high school journalism classes, and have simply continued on from that point.

      I, too, have learned to ignore spell checker tools, for as you say, they are NOT 'word checkers,' or 'context checkers.' In any case, spelling has always been my strong suit, and grammar I learned by osmosis through voracious reading. ;-)

      Of particular annoyance on the Hub Pages' capsule red-lines is the fact that the programmers don't seem to have allowed for contractions! Whether in a capsule or in the forums, I'm continually getting red underlines for "I've," or "haven't," and the like. It is also maddeningly inconsistent.

      My downfall is in trying to explain in proper terms why something is correct or incorrect. Don't ask me about 'clauses,' because I never 'got it' about the terminology--I just 'get it' by having a good sense for what is and is not correct. (Most of the time; I don't claim to be perfect, either!)

      I've done proofreading for a friend's books, and it was not only helpful for her, but also fun to be the first reader prior to publication, and have an insider's access to the story. ;-)

      One proofreading mark we learned, instead of trying to find space to write in "cap" was to simply use a triple underline for a letter that should be capitalized.

      When I'm writing for Hub Pages, though, I rarely write directly into the online capsules; I normally create the article first in MS Word, do my first couple of proofs there, then copy/paste the text into the respective capsules. (That way, I have a permanent copy, should I ever leave HP.) Then, as you say, I go over it again a couple of times prior to hitting the 'publish' button.

      Well done, and voted up ++

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      I write mine in Word first also. I do not trust it entirely but you can set it to find spelling, grammar and sentence errors. After I use Word I copy to HP and re-check it myself. There are still errors which get past me and I have to correct them after I have published it. So beware.

      Thank for stopping by and thanks for the vote up!

      Have a nice night. :-)


    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      4 years ago from Wisconsin

      I write mine out in Word first. But that does not always catch the error. I have written many articles when I was tired and read them later after being published. Not good!

      Thanks for this info. Voted up!

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Did you know that you can choose what you want/do not want Word to correct?

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I do the same and let Word proofread. Then I transfer to the HP template a proofread it. Then I try to reread the next day; errors still slip through. I think gremlins put them there.

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Thank you again Catherine it is good that you use use these. Many hate to proofread - you are not alone. A suggestion is that you have someone do it for you. If not a friend then you have to pay someone.

      I write my Hubs first in Word (or you can use any other proofreader you like). I know that Word shows me spelling, grammar, and even sentence (adj., verb, etc.) errors. When I finish writing it I transfer it to HP. Not everyone does but I go over it again in HP.

      If you want I will look it over for you.

      Have a nice day. :-)


    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Very good advice and I use these techniques. My problem is that I hate to proofread. I want to be creating. I'm already bored by the piece I wrote yesterday. I am trying to force myself to concentrate. voted up ++

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      I use that also Peachy because it checks spelling, grammar and "what is wrong with this sentence". You can choose what you want it to check. I first write my drafts in there then copy/paste them to HP new Hub where I still proofread because even Word can miss some errors.

      Thank you for reading this and you are welcome for the answers. :-)


    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i usually use ms word to check spelling and grammar mistakes, thanks for your answers

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      Thank you very much Kenneth, those sure are nice words to hear from you. I try to keep this in mind every time that I write my Hubs, comments, etc., so that I see few, if any, errors in my writing. One day I thought that I would share with others the way that I do it so I wrote this Hub.

      At the beginning I was not a very good writer but the more I write, the more I improve. I am still studying my grammar to improve that.


    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      The Examiner-1,

      I really love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

      1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, it is amazing.

      2, I loved the way you worded this hub.

      3. Graphics, superb.

      4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

      5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

      6. I loved your topic of this hub.

      You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      Thank you very much Cyndi10, I am glad that you found the information useful. I like 'Elements of Style' too, I am glad that I have it. I am much obliged for your compliments and votes.


    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      Thank you Jackie. I have found that Word has the best spell checker that I have used so far because besides spelling it checks grammar of one word or complete sentences. Though it still does not know the difference between "That damn rat" and "That dam rat". Damn and dam are both acceptable words.

      The other day someone told me of a spelling error in a photo caption on one of my Hubs. I was pleased that they told me but when I went to correct it (I corrected it) it had come that way from the owner - that is why I had not noticed it.

      I appreciate your votes and sharing.


    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the useful information. When it comes to resource manuals, I find Elements of Style really has easy to access grammar and spelling info. You are so right when it comes to letting the writing rest before you actually declare it "done." Even then it's not. I find it helpful to write in word and then paste the article in hub pages. That way, I'm forced to reread it again and often do major edits when I follow that process. I certainly find errors. Voted up.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I use spell check because it will find many things but you are right it is far from perfect. I notice lately I am worse than ever to misspell and I absolutely don't want mistakes and appreciate anyone telling me when I have made one so I have tried to point out errors to others and other than a friend here that shares this same desire (and so we will tell each other) no one really seems to appreciate it. lol I guess it is embarrassing to some but we really should look over our work because my 1st year or so here I went back over things that had been months in print and found mistakes. I may still have one but I do try my best to look things over very carefully. Up and sharing.

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      Thank you very much Jan. The only spell checker which I have have used is in Word but I still proofread it myself once I transfer it to HP. I am not perfect. I still see errors after I publish and I immediately edit and correct them. I am still studying grammar and trying to improve.


    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Well done article, Kevin. Didn't realize how similar we are in terms of the way we work. I have dictionaries and a thesaurus beside me, too. I never use a spell checker. I'm obsessed about re-reading and proofreading my own stuff and making sure it's mistake-free. Of course, I will find something here and there but it's usually in my older hubs. I am getting better. Thanks for this one, up and useful.

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      Thank you very much. I wrote this a while ago because I realized how I made errors and thought I would try to help others.


    • awordlover profile image


      5 years ago

      Good hub. Voted up and shared.

    • The Examiner-1 profile imageAUTHOR

      The Examiner-1 

      6 years ago

      Congratulations. All it takes is a little careful checking and thinking when you write. I thank you for reading my Hub and I wish you better luck in your Hubs from now on. :-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      First of all I thank you for reading my hubs and suggesting some good methods to improve my hub quality in the positive way.The tips you have suggested in this hub are really useful and going to try some of them.Sure you will see the difference in the future hubs.

    • profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      6 years ago

      It is a shame that you lost it all. Was that because you did not have any kind of a backup? I hope that you do not lose it again. I use Microsoft Word; until I got that I was using Works but it was not as good.

    • kiwinana profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice one, all very true.

      First I need to get writing before I can correct my mistakes.

      Just no push to get writing.

      So sad, I did so much writing for another program, but have lost it now, can't get into any gear, lost it.

      Happy writing.

    • profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      6 years ago

      You are welcome susi10. I did not know how this would go over, but I thought that I would share it with others. I always keep an eye out for errors on my Hubs and I still catch ones since I am always trying to update them.

      I just wish that I could do that with my comments too but I only have the first 10 minutes. ;-)

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 

      6 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      I found this hub helpful, I will keep your spellchecking tips to mind when writing my next hub. It is easy to make a simple but embarrassing typo error, it's always best to read over a hub when you are finished it. A great read, thanks for sharing this. Voted up and sharing.


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